72 in His Name: Reuchlin, Luther, Thenaud, Wolff and the Names of Seventy-Two Angels

72 in His Name: Reuchlin, Luther, Thenaud, Wolff and the Names of Seventy-Two Angels


Ian Christie-Miller

ISBN: 9781644692448 (hardcover)
Pages: approx. 90 pp.; 41 figs.
Publication Date: November 2019


Leading figures at the dawn of the sixteenth-century Reformation commonly faced the charge of “judaizing”: 72 In His Name concerns the changing views of four such men starting with their kabbalistic treatment of the 72 divine names of angels.

Johann Reuchlin, the first of the four men featured in this book, survived the charge; Martin Luther’s increasingly anti-semitic stance is contrasted with the opposite movement of the French Franciscan Jean Thenaud whose kabbalistic manuscripts were devoted to Francis I; Philipp Wolff, the fourth, had been born into a Jewish family but his recorded views were decidedly anti-semitic.

72 In His Name also includes evidence that kabbalistic beliefs and practices, such as the service for exorcism recorded by Thenaud, were unwittingly recorded by Christians. Although the book concerns early modern Europe, the religious interactions, the shifting spiritual attitudes, and the shadows cast linger on.

Ian Christie-Miller was a NATO interpreter and RAF Search and Rescue pilot before becoming a teacher. His London PhD research into French sixteenth-century Kabbalism led to the invention of the Early Book Imaging System and to the development of digital imaging techniques as now used for revealing watermarks. It also lead to the publication of his Traicté de la Cabale (Honoré Champion, Paris, 2007), followed by a series of online and printed works mainly about sixteenth-century religious texts.


This remarkable and erudite account of the attitude to Jews, Judaism and the Kabbalah of four key figures in the early modern period, Martin Luther, Johann Reuchlin, Philipp Wolff and Jean Thenaud is essential reading for all those interested in Christian-Jewish relations and the impact on them of the Renaissance and Reformation. It deserves the widest possible audience.
— Antony Polonsky, Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University and Chief Historian, Museum of Polish Jews in Warsaw

Table of Contents


1. The Four Authors

2. Comments on the Lists of the Seventy-Two Names

Reuchlin and the Seventy-Two Names
Luther and the Seventy-Two Names
Thenaud and the Seventy-Two Names 
Thenaud’s Acquaintance with the Kabbalah
Thenaud 72 and 37
Thenaud and Toledot Jeshu (The Generation of Jesus)
Wolff and the Seventy-Two Names

3. Conclusions

Reuchlin and the Jews
Luther and the Jews
Thenaud and the Jews
Wolff and the Jews

4. Overview

The Four Authors and the Seventy-Two Names—1522 Perspective